By Nathaniel Frazier
GRAND JUNCTION, COLO—The Wallace Governors continue to make school history. On Sunday afternoon, the Govs defeated the College of Southern Nevada Coyotes to earn the school's first ever victory in the NJCAA World Series.
Once the Govs started scoring in the fourth inning, they scored in every inning afterwards. And on the mound, Ethan Michaelis was masterful. The combination led to an 11-3 win, which means the Govs will live to play another day.
"This is the biggest accomplishment I've ever had in my life," Michaelis told reporters after the game. "It's a great honor just to be here and the best feeling in the world to get the victory."
Michaelis tossed an eight-inning complete game. He threw 110 pitches, struck out three, walked only one, and gave up seven hits.
Michaelis gave up a solo home run to Nicco Festa in the top of the third inning, but from then on, he was in complete command. He got all the offensive support he would need in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With one out, Coyote starting pitcher Isaiah Blaylock walked Tyler Halas, gave up a single to Joey Bend, and then walked Donnie Gleneski to load the bases. Blaylock was replaced by Blake Inouye and that's when the run scoring started.
Philip Sieli, who was Saturday's starting pitcher, was playing first base in Sunday's game. Sieli greeted Blaylock with a double to right centerfield. That plated the first two runs of the game. Mitch McLendon followed with sacrifice fly to centerfield. After a walk to Adrian Hernandez, Austin Garrett hit an infield single to deep second base that knocked in another run and gave Wallace a 4-1 lead.
The Govs followed their four-run fourth with a three-run fifth. Gleneski doubled to right field to plate Tyler Halas, who had singled. Sieli then singled to knock in Gleneski. McLendon then followed with his second run scoring sacrifice fly, giving the Govs a 7-1 lead.
After four runs in the fourth, three in the fifth, the Govs tacked on two more in the sixth. This time both runs came courtesy of Joey Bend whose two-run double plated Nick Lewis and Eric Rodriguez who had both singled.
With his pitch count mounting, Michaelis gave up two runs in the top of the seventh. But the Govs never stopped scoring.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly that scored McLendon, who had walked.
Sieli ended the game early for the Govs in the bottom of the eighth. After Bend singled to lead off the inning, Sieli doubled over the centerfielder's head to give the eight-run lead they needed to end the game early.
Sieli, who has been playing first base off-and-on since Tanner Frabott was injured—had a really good day at the plate. He ended the game going 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs, and the game's walk off hit.
"All I wanted to do was whatever I could to help my team win," Sieli said afterwards. "We had our backs against the wall today, but everybody came out and played hard. I was just glad to do my part."
In making school history, the Govs collected 13 hits off three different Coyote pitchers.
"It's always nice to be the first to do anything," Wallace coach Mackey Sasser said of his team making history. We did what we needed to do today. I told the guys we are not a home run hitting team. We are a line-drive hitting ball club. We need to hit doubles and go gap to gap."
With the win, the Govs will play again Monday at 10 a.m.